Sometimes, low mood days just happen. They can be totally unpredictable, which is why you need to have a self-care plan for when they strike. This is, for the most part, what works for me based on personal experience as a moody, emotional person with moderate anxiety. I hope these ten self-care ideas for low mood days can help you feel better.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical professional nor a licensed mental health provider. Any content provided on The Vibrant Dreamer should not be used in lieu of professional advice or care. If you feel like you are in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255 (US) or text HOME to 741741 (US). For a list of crisis hotlines in other countries, please click here.
Self-Care Ideas for Low Mood Days
#1. Journal or meditate.
Even before I was consciously aware of the concept of self-care, I always found myself writing my feelings out when I was feeling down. It’s always been a lot easier to express myself in writing instead of speaking, which meant I could purge the negative emotions faster.
I know it’s tempting to want to ignore your negative emotions entirely and push them off to the side. But if you allow yourself to feel them and examine them, it allows for the opportunity to work through them and grow from them! If you can keep your emotions from festering inside you, the better your overall emotional state will be.
Try to find a quiet place free of distractions where you can truly get in touch with your emotions.
#2. Do a little bit of cleaning or laundry.
Even when I’m feeling low, I don’t want to just lie in bed all day and be totally unproductive. For me personally, that actually gives me more anxiety! So as a result, I try to get something accomplished.
But trying to clean an entire room or do all of my laundry on a low day would overwhelm me to the point where I wouldn’t do anything at all. So instead, I commit to cleaning a small area of a room, or doing half a load of laundry. And I give myself the entire day to finish it.
Usually, once I get started I feel much better, and end up finding the motivation to do a few more chores. It doesn’t always happen though, and that’s okay. I allow myself to be okay with whatever I first commit to being the bare minimum. Even if I don’t do any more chores afterwards, I do tend to feel better that I did something.
Another strategy I see people doing is setting a timer for, say, 15 minutes, and whatever chore they get done in that amount of time is all they’ll do. That one doesn’t work as well for me, but I see it working for many other people!
#3. Take a shower or bath.
I don’t know what it is, but taking a warm shower always makes me feel a lot better.
For this one, making it into the shower is the hardest part. If I don’t feel like taking a shower, but am already in the bathroom to… engage in bathroom activities, I just go ahead and take a shower with the logic that “well, I’m already in here.”
If you truly lack the energy for a shower or bath, try putting some dry shampoo in your hair if you have any. It will help your hair feel less greasy and you’ll feel cleaner.
#4. Unplug from social media.
Being on social media when you’re already not feeling too great usually makes everything a whole lot worse. On social media, it always looks like everyone’s life is perfect. Even though we all (hopefully) know that isn’t true at all, it’s even more difficult to remember when you’re having a low day.
It can also encourage you to spiral and further alienate yourself from others. It probably looks like everyone is doing what you wish you were doing, whatever that may be: having kids, buying houses, traveling… which will make you feel even worse.
You can gently remind yourself that no one shares their “failures” or “boring days” on social media, but a better strategy entirely is to unplug for a little while. Distract yourself with your favorite show on Netflix or a good book. Challenge yourself to go X amount of time without checking your phone (or at least social media).
#5. Open the window / go outside.
I’m the type of person who generally feels unsafe going outside by myself (thanks anxiety!) but just opening the window is helpful for me. Sometimes I will go out on my back porch and drink a cup of tea or hot chocolate and allow myself to enjoy feeling the outside air.
I have a lot of friends who say taking a walk alone is incredibly helpful for low moods, if you’re able to do so. I
#6. Light candles.
Okay, this one may sound a bit silly. But if you’re like me, you probably have way too many candles lying around your house, so you may as well burn some of them!
Burning candles almost never fails to boost my mood, especially seasonally-scented candles. I’m not sure why this helps, but it always does. I think there’s just something about being cozy that’s beneficial for low moods.
Room spray also works well!
#7. Talk to a friend.
Being able to speak to someone who cares about you will help you feel less alone. You don’t have to talk about whatever it is that is bothering you, but some general social interaction can help boost your mood.
You might feel like you’re bothering them, but if that person is truly a friend to you, a normal conversation won’t bug them.
#8. Make sure you’ve gotten enough to eat and drink.
It’s easy to forget to eat when you are feeling badly about yourself. Take a couple seconds to really listen to your body, and pay attention to hunger cues. Drinking some cold water will also help boost your metabolism.
I usually do make a hot cup of tea or coffee, as well. Hot drinks are exceptionally comforting for me personally.
If you have food delivery services available and you don’t have the energy to make anything, getting something delivered is an option as well. This is a good time to allow yourself a comfort meal.
#9. Avoid online shopping.
Studies suggest when you’re sad, you’re more likely to buy something. Your budget probably does not allow you to embark on a huge retail therapy journey. I definitely spend more when I’m sad or having a bad day than when I’m happy… it’s something I really need to get better about.
To help curb that itch to shop, sometimes I’ll order a household item on Amazon that I legitimately need, such as makeup remover or cat food. Or I’ll browse websites that are way, way out of my budget that I know I’d never drop money on just because.
You do have to know yourself well enough if you’re going to take that approach. No matter how sad I am, I know that I’m not going to order a $150 dress on Modcloth or get a bunch of random stuff from my Amazon wishlist. Some people absolutely will, and you have to be honest with yourself before going online window shopping.
#10. Hit the gym.
As we all know from Legally Blonde, exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy!
Okay but honestly, going to the gym is literally the last thing I feel like doing when I’m upset or am having a low mood day. If I’m having a hard day but still want to make it into the gym, I’ll only do cardio for 30 minutes and I won’t do any weight training at all. If this is something that’s feasible for you on a low mood day, I strongly suggest doing a modified version of your routine.
If you’re good at forcing yourself to do something, this could be a great option for you!
I hope these ideas are helpful to you whenever you find yourself having a low mood day!
What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself when you’re feeling down?
Until next time,
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